Integrating the Arts into the 4th
and 5th Grade Classroom
A Primer for Classroom Teachers
This series of activities is the result of a two-day workshop
conducted by Dr. Sue Snyder for the Oak Grove Upper Elementary School faculty
in June, 2000. Oak Grove is just outside Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and is a
participant in the Whole Schools Program supported by a grant from the
Mississippi Arts Commission. There are about 850 4th and
5th graders, and they are just about to move into the prior middle
school facility, providing a much needed gym and auditorium. There is no music
or art specialist at this school, although they are working very hard to get
funding for these positions. They are in their first year of implementing an
arts-infused school plan modeled after the HOT Schools program. These teachers
are well versed in multiple intelligence theory, authentic assessment, and
other various contemporary trends in education. They felt they needed some help
with music understandings and skills, and also an overview of the HOT Schools
model. They also needed to begin the type of team building that will be
required to make the transitions and changes necessary during the coming
Outline of Content
- Sharing personal experiences--Torn paper
quilt squares and oral history
- Sharing visions of our school--Group responses to topics
- The discipline of music: Building
concepts and skills through activities related to pattern
- Activity #1: Names
- Activity #2: Body percussion
- Activity #3: Paper Plates as an
example of found or environmental sounds
- Activity #4: Unpitched
- Activity #5: Pitch and
- Activity #6: Listening
- Activity #7: STOMP
- Activity #8: Newspaper
- HOT School Pillar: Strong Arts
- Arts disciplines and
- Basic Concepts in Music with HOT
- 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
- A Design for Composition
- Basic Concepts in Art with HOT
- Exploring Line in Three
- Exploring Shape through Negative
- Exploring Value through a
- Basic Concepts in Movement/Dance
with HOT examples
- Building Basic Movement
- Prepare the space together
- Circle and scatter formations
- Exploring self space
- Non-locomotor movements
- Moving through pathways
- Locomotor movements
- Group movement--circles
- Verbs and adverbs
- HOT School Pillar: Arts-infused
- In, about, and through the
- Connection, correlation, and
- HOT School Pillar: Democracy
- Materials and Activities
- Funga Alafia
- Adapting materials, activities, and
Sharing Personal Experiences: Torn paper quilt squares and
- Guide participants to find a memory--perhaps a musical memory
from early childhood. Other possible categories might be a happy (sad, funny,
scary) experience, an object that is meaningful, a special holiday, something
you did on summer vacation.
- Guide participants to explore that memory for details by
- What does it look like?
- What does it sound like?
- What does it smell like?
- What can you feel?
- What is near and what is far away?
- Who else is there?
- Watch what is happening, and collect all the
- How old are you?
- What are you feeling as this is taking place?
- How might you use this experience today? (This question
is for grown-ups only, probably not for children.)
- Instruct participants to create a torn-paper image, using
only paper and glue, to represent their story.
- Interview one person about their story, demonstrating
interviewing techniques including:
- Eye contact
- Leaning in
- Open stance
- Ask questions related to the story to get more
- Listen intently
- One-way conversation--none of your own experiences
- Wait - give speaker time to think
- In pairs, collect each others' stories.
- Put the torn paper images into a "quilt" on the bulletin
board or a wall.
- Optional: Do creative writing to write the stories and add
them to the display.
Sharing visions of our school--Group responses to topics
Teachers at a workshop have vast information about their
specific situation, and can provide a context into which the entire workshop
content will fit. In this case, the teachers used post-its to put up responses
to the following flip-chart paper prompts:
- Our school is:
- Our students are:
- Powerful learning occurs when:
- I am required to teach:
- Decisions in our school are made by:
- Our school could be even better if:
As we read the responses, we all came to a common vision of
what the big picture of the school was, what the issues and challenges were.
Most responses were very positive, and showed great respect between all
participants. A strength of this school is the principal, who participated in
every activity along with her staff. She is organized and respected. Another
strength in this school is the strong parent support and participation in the
school. The students are loved and honored. The teacher team reflects a range
of teaching experience, style, expertise, and interests. Nearly all are open to
change, and interested in what is best for the children.
The Discipline of Music: Building Concepts and Skills through
Activities Related to Pattern
Activity #1: Names
Process (Do this series of activities over several days):
- Echo say and clap names around the circle, starting with the
teacher. (We used first and last names, but you could use just first
- Repeat to get comfortable, going around the circle the other
- Identify different ways to clap, and each modify their name
by changing the way they clap and say it. Go around and echo again.
- Have students try out combinations of two names to create
longer patterns. Do this as a whole group first, then in small groups. They
might create patterns using four names. Encourage repetition and contrast.
- Groups perform their patterns for one another.
- It is possible to create a composition using these patterns
if they are interesting and the students are interested.
Activity #2: Body percussion sounds
Process: (Do one activity each day, building skill and
complexity over time. Choose those that are most comfortable for you.)
- Echo clap patterns
- Add snaps, then pats, then stamps.
- Echo patterns that include two levels, for example: claps and
- Echo patterns that include three or four levels. (Remember
that this ability occurs as a result of practice over time. Don't overwhelm the
students, but do a little each day and build skills. As you use more levels,
increase the number of beats in your patterns from 4 to 8.)
- Around the circle, each person create their own 4 beat
pattern. Combine one pattern after another to create 8 beat patterns. In small
groups, create 16, 24, or 32 beat patterns that can be repeated over and over.
Use these as accompaniments for songs or poems, or combine several to create an
AB, ABA, or ABACA piece.
- Write out the body percussion patterns that individuals
create, using lines that label the sounds from top to bottom, and reading from
left to right, for example:
These patterns can be placed on index cards and used as
flash cards as a reading warm-up.
- Hint: Echoing patterns is good for getting student attention,
but don't bore the kids. Be inventive by using different body sounds,
incorporating mouth sounds like whistles or shhhs. Let them lead the patterns
as soon as they are able. And sometimes clap four patterns one after the other,
then ask the students to clap all four back in order without any mistakes.
- Hint: Body percussion will transfer to instruments, or
patterns can be used to create accompaniments for songs or poems.
Activity #3: Paper Plates as an example of found or
- Each person take two plates.
- Try out some ways to make sounds with the two plates, and
share these ideas with one another.
- With march music, samba music, a rag, or something else
lively; play the plates any way you want for 8 beats and then change. Continue
changing the way the plates are played every 8 beats.
- Note: This is an exploratory activity that leads to fluency
and flexibility. No one is creative until they've used up all the ideas they
already know. Then they have to think creatively, consult with each other, and
collaborate. After a while, sit down and discuss the process of being creative
and thinking "outside the box." Describe how to minify, magnify, adapt, vary,
collaborate, and swipe ideas from others. Enjoy the silliness of this
activity--Creativity comes from a place of childlike thinking.
- Each person choose an instrument to play.
- Categorize the instruments according to sound families:
woods, metals, scrapers/shakers, drums.
- Echo patterns on unpitched instruments, first from clapping,
the assign the following:
Snap = metals
Clap = woods
Stamp = drums
- Read the written pattern cards that were created for body
percussion, transferring to unpitched instruments.
- Use unpitched instruments to highlight any concept you are
working on, for example:
- Play on every noun.
- Play on every verb.
- Play different sounds for different punctuation (Use "Mean
Soup" or another story that has
plenty of punctuation.
- Play different instrument to represent characters in a
fictional or non-fiction story.
- Play the steady beat on drums, and the rhythm of the
words on sticks for poems or songs.
- Have students create a radio script as a culminating
activity to demonstrate understanding of some concept, adding instrument sound
- Use the drum to have students walk the steady beat creating
pathways through space without bumping. At first just walk, then add jogging,
skipping, and swaying.
- Tap the woodblock 5 times to have students create statues
with 5 people. Repeat with different number of taps. This is a great experience
before doing division or multiplication to create sets and remainders.
- Note: The unpitched instruments are chosen to represent the
four sound families, but also to represent the short vowel sounds:
clatterpillar, eggs, sticks, block, and
drums. There is also the finger cymbal for y as a vowel
Activity #5: Pitch and Singing
- You are purchasing
Music, Grades 4 and 5 for each classroom. There are Teacher's Editions,
Pupil Books, and CDs, plus resource materials. If you follow the lessons in the
book, you will learn musical concepts and skills along with your students.
- When you get your books, review them to find the following
sections and features:
- Sing-along unit at the beginning.
- Six units that teach concepts and skills through musical
- Classroom connections for each core lesson.
- A celebrations section that has materials for holiday and
celebrations throughout the year.
- CDs with songs, listening selections, recorded lessons to
- Master index with materials to go with specific
- We did "Mango Walk" from Grade 5, including the song and
- "Funga Alafia" is provided with directions in the
Materials and Activities section of this article.
Activity #6: Listening Maps
- Listening maps provide a visual map of a piece of music. You
will be receiving "Music Memory," with 20 listening maps and selections to use
during the year. There are lessons and transparencies. Look at
Listening Maps to follow one map and see how
- We also used a listening map from "Interactive Arts for Total
Literacy" in our model thematic unit on Imitation in the HOT Schools section of
Activity #7: STOMP
Patterns in music are the basis for the hit musical STOMP.
- Watch the video in small bits over several days.
- Discuss the patterns that are created through everyday sounds
- Imitate some of the patterns using brooms, pails, cards,
bouncing balls, and so on.
- Have students create their own patterns using the same or
different objects. Be sure to use a rigorous editing process. Perhaps this
would be the time to construct a rubric for what an excellent piece and
performance would entail, and work toward excellence.
- Create your own STOMP performance.
Activity #8: Newspaper sticks.
- Provide background on Australia, and aboriginal dot
- Create sticks using newspaper, magazines, paper, markers, and
tape. Each person should have two sticks.
- In pairs, create patterns in sets of 2, then sets of 3.
- Try these sets of 3
- Down, out, together
- Down, out, right (tap partner's right stick)
- Down, out, left (tap partner's left stick)
- Down, out, right, down, out, left
- Down, out, both
- Down, out, toss
- Right toss, left toss, or both (one set goes
to the inside, the other to the outside). The toss is really a gentle arcing
lift that places the stick right where the partner can catch it.
- Create patterns of 16 beats that both partners can do.
- Add music ("Tititorea" is in Share the
Music Grade 3, but any music in sets of 3 that is not too fast will
- This can be done with patterns in sets of 2 or 4, using march
music, or pop tunes.
- Note: Again, the creative process is equally important to the
product. Provide time for problem solving, editing, revision, and sharing. Help
students identify the good ideas and build on them.
The HOT Schools program is implemented through the Connecticut
Commission on the Arts in 28 Connecticut schools. The foundation is school
community and culture. The three supporting pillars are 1)strong arts programs,
2) arts infused curriculum, and 3) democracy. For more information on HOT
Schools click on the title above.
HOT Schools Pillar: Strong Arts
Arts disciplines and staffing
When we speak of the arts in education, we really are
discussing four distinct and separate disciplines: music, movement, visual art,
and drama. Schools usually have music and visual arts specialists, and often
the physical education teacher focuses a portion of the curriculum on creative
and structured movement (dance). Drama is usually taught as part of the
language arts curriculum. Dance and drama are supported in arts-infused schools
through visiting artists until such time as funding is available for a full or
part time faculty member in each of these disciplines. In Oak Grove School,
there is no music or art specialist at this time, although the community is
seeking funding for these positions.
Basic Skills and Understanding in the Arts
The arts standards are published in a document, National
Standards in the Arts: What Every Young American Should Know and Be Able to Do
in Music, Visual Art, Dance, and Drama. In addition, each state and most
local districts have arts standards, guidelines, or curriculum guides. The
following are the most basic concepts in music, visual art, and movement.
Basic Concepts in Music
- Steady beat/ no beat
- Tone color (different sound sources)
- Thick/thin (texture)
You can use any of these to "spice up" classroom content. For
example: When a rule must be remembered, choose a musical concept such as
high/low, and have the students say the phrase high, low, in the middle,
higher, lower, half high and the other half low, half low and the other half
high, mixing up the highs and lows, all at one level. By the time they have
done all these repetitions, they will have orally rehearsed the phrase so many
times it will most likely be remembered. This works even better when you add
movement for kinesthetic reinforcement.
For an activity that allows students to explore the basic
contrasts in music through composition, see 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8, or A Design for Composition.
Printer-friendly activity sheet available.
- Circle some of the numbers
- Say 1-8, clap circled numbers
- Say 1-8, clap uncircled numbers
- Divide into 2 groups.
Count 1-8, half clap
circled numbers, the other half clap uncircled numbers.
- Transfer to two different
- Practice, then play it for
- Optional: Play your pattern with a
Printer-friendly activity sheet available.
A Design for Composition
Plan a piece together. Read all the directions before
you start working. Once you begin, be sure to listen, share ideas, ask
questions, and encourage each other. You're in this together.
You may not talk to the teacher unless everyone in the
group has a hand raised at the same time. Someone in the group probably has the
answer you need. Be sure to check before you ask outside the group.
- Using your chosen or assigned musical contrast, decide how
the beginning of the piece will introduce your opposites. What sound
sources might you use?
- Plan the middle of the piece. Something needs to
happen to the opposites. Will they work together? Will they argue? Will they
take turns? Will one gradually turn into the other?
- Plan the ending of the piece. There usually is a
solution. Make it clever or interesting, but still connected to the piece.
Now is the time to practice. Collect the sounds you need,
then only use them to practice this piece. Time is limited, so work
quickly. If you are finished before the time limit, think about how you will
perform the piece. Standing? Sitting? In a row or circle? Will there be any
Perform the piece for the class. We will try to figure out
your musical concept by listening.
How well did your group do? Discuss:
- Whether you piece met the requirements set in the
- Things you liked about your piece.
- What could have been better or different?
- What made your group work well?
- What could you do better next time?
Basic concepts in Visual Art
- Media (pencil, crayon, craypas, paints, markers, pastels,
wire/wikkis, paper, collage, clay, bas relief, sculpture, cameras/photos, found
- Shape (2 dimensions)
- Value (contrast between dark and light)
- Form (3 dimensional)
Click on the following three activities to find lessons that
allow students to explore line, shape,
and value. They are in a format that can be copied for use
in the classroom.
Printer-friendly activity sheet available.
Exploring Line in Three
- Create a three-dimensional wire or wikki
stix representation of the head of someone in the room.
- Consider the dimensions of height,
width, and depth as you work.
Printer-friendly activity sheet available.
Exploring Shape through
- Place two or three chairs on a table in
different positions, at different angles.
- Choose one of the chairs.
- Recreate it using torn newspaper to show
the negative spaces.
Printer-friendly activity sheet available.
Exploring Value Through a
- Find a shiny object that is large and
has interesting shapes. Place it on display.
- Use a blank stiff sheet of paper with a
1" square hole cut in the center. At arm's length, search the displayed object
until you find a visually interesting part.
- Using different number pencils (soft to
hard, dark to light), create a drawing of your chosen part which fills the
Basic Concepts in Movement/Dance
- The body
- Non-locomotor movement
- Locomotor movement
- Force/Quality (quality is technically the combination of
time, force, and space)
- Creative expression
- Structured dance
Building Basic Movement Skills
Many physical education teachers and classroom teachers are
uncomfortable with guiding creative movement activities rather than competitive
sports. However, the research is clear that movement is essential for learning,
and creative movement is a strong pathway to creative and critical thinking.
Therefore, begin by building basic movement skills, such as the following:
- Prepare the space together. Either move the furniture
to the edges of the room to make open space, or find a large open space in
which to work. Sometimes a gym is too much space in which to begin, so use half
the floor until students are a little more comfortable moving through
- Circle and scatter formations. Make graphics for
circle and scatter formations, and have students move between these two
formations until they get a sense of the space. You might then add a square,
two parallel lines, and other formations.
- Exploring self space. Each individual choose a scatter
formation space that can be found quickly. Explore the space: How high is it?
How low? How far to the back? To the front? To the sides? How much of the space
can you fill with your body? How skinny can you be in your space? Remind
students that when they begin moving through space, every person takes their
self space with them, and that space needs to be respected.
- Non-locomotor movements. Explore ways to move in one
space. Try moving different body parts in the following ways: twist, wring,
float, dab, slash, push, flick, press. These efforts were described by Rudolf
Laban as combinations of direct/indirect, strong/weak, and quick/slow. They can
be done with any body part or combination of body parts, for example: twist
your head, wrist, knee, waist, ankle, foot.
- Moving through pathways. In scatter formation, with
students sitting on the floor with legs folded and hands in lap, have one
students make a curved pathway around other students, then stop and pat another
student on the shoulder. The walker takes the place of this new student, who
then continues the pathway. Try this activity with two walkers, four, eight,
sixteen, and everyone. The goal is for everyone to be moving through shared
space without bumping.On different days, explore straight, curved, zig-zagged,
scalloped, dotted pathways using different locomotor movements.
- Locomotor movements. Locomotor movements take the
person from one place to another. Make pathways using different locomotor
movements, such as walk, jog, skip, hop, jump, gallop, crawl, tip-toe, clomp,
walk on the insides of your feet, the outsides of your feet, point toes in,
point toes out, go backward (look over shoulder), move sideways, crossover,
move low middle and high, sneak, bound, march, waltz, fly, mope, question, move
with a partner, and so on.
- Mirroring. In pairs, mirror one another in slow
motion. Start with just hands and arms, but eventually mirror whole body
movement. Think of how slow motion works on TV.
- Group movement--circles. In groups of 10, share a 6
yard piece of elastic with the ends tied together to make a circle, each group
member holding the elastic at "belly button" height. Process:
- Depending upon the group, you might give directions, or
with a responsible group of students let them just see what the circle can
- Add music such as "Circle Dance" from IDEASMusic CD
- After once through listen to hear the parts of the music
that are the same, and agree upon a movement all groups will do every time this
A section is heard. (The form is a cumulative rondo: A B A C CB A D DC DCB A E
ED EDC EDCB A. You can stop after any A section.)
- Have individual groups choose a favorite circle movement
for B C D or E (if there are enough groups).
- Perform the elastic circle dance with everyone doing the
A movement, and individual groups performing the episodes (B C D and E).
Printer-friendly activity sheet available.
- Make a list of action words suggested
by students. Be sure to include locomotor, non-locomotor, and gesture
- In another color, create a list of -ly
words (select those that are adverbs, such as "happily," "lazily," and
"energetically," rather than "friendly."
- Have students try out several
combinations of one verb and one adverb, until they find three that they
- Each share the three movements with a
partner, having the partner guess what combination they are doing.
- Have the pair create a movement phrase
or sentence using some of the six movements they have
- Join with another pair, share their
movements, and combine those that are most interesting into a movement phrase
- Optional: Join with another foursome to
create a movement piece using the best ideas from both groups.
- Share the products at whatever stage
Note: Verbs and Adverbs is a great activity for building
collaborative skills, and working on the editing process. Only some ideas are
good ones, and even good ideas don't always fit. Help students learn the skills
of listening, making suggestions, trying out ideas, using critical language
about ideas, and analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating. Remember that the
process is equally important to the product.
There are lots of movement activities in
Music, including a movement glossary at the back of the book that describes
terminology. If you use these books and CDs, you will have the music to go with
the activities you choose!
Also, look for the Phyllis Weikart
Moving series of books and CDs when you are planning to do structured
movement. She has a sequentially organized program, and uses authentic folk
dances and melodies from many cultures.
HOT Schools Pillar: Arts Infused
In, about, and through the arts
In each of the arts, we can teach in, about, and through
the art discipline.
Teaching in the art is usually the responsibility of the
discipline based ("special") teacher, however in situations where there are no
specialists, this responsibility lies with the classroom teacher. Every child
has the right to learn the languages of the arts, regardless of staffing
Teaching about the art discipline is a shared
responsibility of the arts specialist and classroom teacher.
Teaching through the arts is the responsibility of the
classroom teacher. Many classroom teachers find that they need to attend music,
art, and movement sessions with their classes for the first year of teaching in
order to gain the skills and understandings they will need.
In-service is also an important component of classroom teacher
Likewise, arts specialists should make time to learn the
curricula of their students in language arts, math, science, and social
studies. This can often be done through creating a schedule that allows for
The classroom teacher needs to build understanding and skills
in four arts disciplines.
The arts specialists need to build understandings and skills in
four classroom disciplines, multiplied by the number of grade levels taught for
example: K-5 is six different levels.
Connection, Correlation, and Integration
There are three different levels of linking disciplines often
utilized in arts-infused programs.
In a connection, one discipline (usually the arts
discipline) is in the service of another, for example:
Science Through Song is a set of 15 songs
developed to teach concepts in the elementary science curriculum. They have
different musical styles, and the recording uses age appropriate models, but
there is no stated musical purpose or goal. Connections are very popular
with classroom teachers, and create motivation and interest in lessons.
Students usually enjoy this type of activity, and find it enriches their
learning. Facts can be learned this way, and adding rhythm or song to factual
material makes the learning easier. However, connections alone are not enough
to constitute integrated or arts-infused programs.
Correlation is the next step toward integration. In a
Correlation, materials and/or activities are shared between disciplines,
but there are objectives and goals in both disciplines. For example: Imagine
that teacher uses the instrumental tracks available in "Science Through Song,"
to have students create their own words to remember specific math, science,
language, social studies, or other facts. In the process of doing this
activity, not only are the facts being orally rehearsed by the children as they
try to fit them into the melody and rhythm of the song, but clapping the rhythm
would be necessary (a music objective), singing the melody without words would
be necessary (a music objective), rhyming words would need to be pointed out
and created (a language arts activity), and perhaps movement might be added (a
movement activity). These are only viable activities in a discipline if they
are made explicit to the students through labeling and assessment of their
understanding. Correlations are much more powerful learning designs that
connections, but still not true integrations.
Integration occurs when a topical or conceptual theme is
chosen by a group of teachers, and each teaches toward that theme through their
own disciplines. For example: if the theme is sequence, the language arts
teacher is using literature which allows exploration of sequence, the music
teacher is developing an understanding of sequence using a piece such as
Echoes, from Interactive Arts for Total Literacy;
the art teacher is finding the sequence of tints, shades, and shapes in From
the Lake by Georgia O'Keefe; and the movement teacher is helping students
create sequences of movements using verbs and adverbs. Together, these
experiences help students understand the larger concept of sequence.
For additional information on arts-infused curriculum designs,
see either the Integrate with Integrity
article or book. Models are available in
Interactive Arts for Total Literacy. New models will
soon be available for intermediate elementary levels.
HOT Pillars: Democracy
Democracy is an interesting issue in education. We want our
students to grow as contributing members of society, capable of identifying
problems, brainstorming solutions, evaluating suggestions to determine which
might be the best, and collaboratively act on decisions for the community's
benefit. Is this the way the school is run, and are these behaviors and skills
that are taught in your school?
In a HOT School every effort is made to create a school culture
where the voice of the child is heard. Here are some questions to help clarify
your thinking about whether this occurs in your school, and how it can be
- How can we define democracy?
- Where is the power in your school? Who does the decision
making? Who assesses whether the decisions and actions are effective?
- In your classroom?
- Among your staff?
- In the structure of the school?
- In the community?
- Is the school for adults or children? Or is it for all
- Is the voice of the child heard? How can the voice of the
child be heard more?
- What existing structures, rules, and systems are in the way?
What alternatives might there be?
Here are some ways that democracy is growing in HOT
- The school community includes teachers, students,
administrators, parents, staff, visiting artists, and community members. All
voices are heard when decisions are made. There is respect shown to all
individuals and points of view. However, student needs are primary, and other
needs are secondary.
- All disciplines are valued equally, and the arts are part of
the core curriculum.
- There is some choice in the content of what will be learned,
although the state and district mandated curriculum provide a lot of the "what"
will be taught and learned.
- There is great choice in "how" the learning will occur.
Students are taught to honor multiple learning styles and languages of
learning, and sometimes work through their strength, but are also encouraged to
strengthen their weaknesses.
- There is an emphasis on going beyond rote learning to higher
order thinking: application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Facts lead to
concepts, and concepts to generalizations that will last a lifetime and grow in
depth over time. An attempt is made to link learning toward generalizations
- There is choice in how students will demonstrate their
understanding through authentic assessment.
- There are weekly or monthly "town meetings" during which the
whole school community gathers to celebrate successes. The student council runs
these, with information submitted by the many groups at work in the school
(individual classes, editorial board, dance troupe, music groups, principal,
- The student council is run as a representative town
government, and sets its own agenda of student issues for the session (half a
- There is a central depository, "Magic Mailbox" into which
exemplary writing in words, music, dance, drama, or visual art is placed. The
"Editorial Board" is a group of students selected by response to their
submitted portfolios and letters of application. They take the materials in the
mailbox, and respond to each piece by returning it for revision or completion,
or sending it on to the dance group, music group, etc. Certain pieces are
selected for the "Writer of the Week," "Artist of the Week," "Composer of the
Week," and/or "Choreographer of the Week." Works are on display in the lobby of
the school, and every teacher brings her/his class to the lobby during the week
to experience these exemplary works of the week. (Music on cassette or video,
dance on video--There doesn't have to be one example of every category every
- Student art and writing is everywhere, and there are many
places for display of the school activities and student accomplishments. The
visual art is a reflection of the program's emphasis on creativity rather than
- Explanations of the process accompany displays.
- Rather than performances, there are "informances," where the
audience is informed about the skills and understandings that were gained as a
result of the preparation process.
- Students are expected to take responsibility for themselves,
and for others when necessary. Freedoms are balanced with responsibility. Rigor
is expected of all participants in the school community.
- Collaboration is encouraged, as is community service and
- Rules are kept to a minimum, and whenever possible stated in
the positive, stating what the students will do, and what they expect from one
another in order for learning to occur.
- Time is allocated for teachers to meet and collaborate, and
schedules are flexible whenever possible to allow for spontaneous
- In-service is provided for teachers to become comfortable
with those skills and understandings that were not part of their prior
experience and learning.
- There is an openness and willingness to listen to ideas, try
new things, and change when it makes sense for the students.
Materials and Activities
Funga Alafia, the Liberian greeting dance, can be found
in Share the Music, Grade 5.
Process: A Section
- Echo-speak the words to the song with patting.
- Echo-sing the words to the song with patting.
- Listen to the whole A section, then sing it until it is
- In a circle, add hands going out to sides, then clapping own
- Add moving feet, once to the left (clockwise), and once to
the right (counterclockwise).
Process: B Section
- Echo each phrase with the motions, or follow the pictures in
- Practice until it is flowing.
- Perform ABA.
Process: C Section
- Practice making quarter turns in a clockwise directions.
- Now jump and call out rather than just turning.
- Add drummers improvising at least a steady beat, but
hopefully something fancy and fine.
- Perform ABACA, with the drummers starting at C and continuing
through the last A section.
Jacqueline, the number game is in Zing, Zing, Zing, by
Avon Gillespie. It can be ordered from West Music. Just to help you remember,
it is done in circle formation. There are 3 parts:
- Jump and say "Zing, Zing, Zing," then the leader says "I'm
- With a clap-touch pattern, number off around the circle.
- Jacqueline begins the "cookie jar game," with each individual
speaking when their number is called: "#1 stole the cookie from the cook-cookie
jar," "Who me?" "Yes, you." "Couldn't be." "Then who?"
- If someone misses send her/him to the end, next to
Jacqueline. Don't eliminate those that need the most help.
Adapting Materials, Activities, and Ideas
This workshop, and this article, includes a lot of wonderful
activities and materials suggested, as well as ideas both large and small.
However, only the individual teacher and school community can make decisions
about how to use these ideas. You are the only ones who know your own students,
their abilities, and their needs. Use these ideas as a "guide on the side,"
rather than a "sage on the stage." Then you will be modeling the higher order
thinking and risk taking you expect from your students.
You might start with the things that feel most comfortable, and
for which you can see the most immediate application to your own situation. At
the same time, you might explore some of the research behind arts infused
curriculum, and discover the process links that suggest that the arts are a lab
for all learning. Try Teaching with the Brain
in Mind, by Eric Jensen to start. As you begin to use more music, visual
art, dance, and drama, you will find yourself aware of the languages of sound,
image, and movement all around you. They pop up in literature, and across the
disciplines. They become windows to learning that are now open wide! I can
predict that both you and your students will have a wonderful time becoming HOT
through infusing the arts into and across your curriculum!
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